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Russell County

Nestled in the breathtakingly beautiful Appalachian mountains of Southwest Virginia, Russell County is rich in natural beauty, history and a rapidly growing economy. The current population is just under 30,000. The county is 477 square miles.

Founded on January 2, 1786, Russell County was formed from a section of Washington County, Virginia. Washington County historian L. P. Summers once wrote, “Washington County lost a great extent of country and many valuable citizens when Russell County was formed.” Later Lee, Tazewell, Wise, Buchanan, Dickenson and Scott Counties were formed from parts of Russell County.

The County was named after Colonel William Russell who participated in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, and has been home to such public servants as Daniel Boone, Governor H. C. Stuart and Senator Phillip Puckett.

Russell County’s citizens take great pride in our history and heritage, and we are passionate about our future.

Economically, Russell County has a proven track record for creating a diversified economy. It is home to Information Technology giants Northrop Grumman and CGI. AT&T Wireless, Oldcastle – Mountain Materials, E. Dillon, Dickenson-Russell Coal and Lebanon Apparel are major employers. Our small business community is a lucrative part of our economy as well. Our economy is made up of engineering firms, attorneys, financial institutions, financial services, heavy construction services, mining, gas field services, mineral/resource extraction, farming, retail, manufacturing and health care just to name a few. Russell County offers a well-skilled, dedicated work force that can meet the needs of your company if you are looking to open a new business, expand or relocate.

Russell County Medical Center (also a major employer), a not-for-profit Mountain States Health Alliance 78-bed facility, is dedicated to bringing quality healthcare home to Southwest Virginia. It is a community hospital offering a full array of primary care and some specialty services, including behavioral health. RCMC is certified as one of the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines facilities.

Kissito Healthcare Maple Grove is the only skilled rehab and nursing facility in Russell County. Recently Maple Grove was awarded 5 Star Facility Status. Only approximately 10% of Nursing Homes across the country are 5 Star Facilities.

Russell County Schools has a strong partnership program with business and industry, interactive distance learning, an alternative school, a comprehensive adult education program, psycho-educational services and a commitment to the Virginia Standards of Learning at all Levels. The Russell county Public School system serves approximately 4200 students in Pre-K through the twelfth grade, providing four primary schools, six elementary schools, an alternative school and a career and technology center.

Southwest Virginia Community College, Old Dominion University, King College and UVA-Wise have locations and educational opportunities in Russell County. The Southwest Virginia Technology Development Center is currently operated by The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, also housing a satellite office for Southwest Virginia Community College. The Campus of Southwest Virginia Community College is located at the Russell and Tazewell County line on US Hwy. 19 and houses both Old Dominion University and King College offices.

Meeting space is available in the Russell County Conference Center, Southwest Virginia Technology Development Center, and the Town of Lebanon Meeting Rooms.

If you are looking for a place to stay we have lodging available through campgrounds, hotels and a lodge. Russell County offers culinary choices from chain restaurants to a unique dining experience. Some of those choices include national chains, country cooking, fast food, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, confections, steak and seafood, barbeque and Italian.

Outdoor recreation opportunities abound. In the heart of the county at the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek rests the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve, home to many rare species of plant and aquatic life. The Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek are listed on the National Park Service’s Nationwide Inventory List and the Virginia Scenic Rivers List. The Clinch River has been ranked the #1 River in the Country by the Nature Conservancy for its environmental diversity and significance and is the top river in the World for freshwater mussels. Boat launches are available for canoeing and kayaking opportunities on the Clinch.

Honaker holds the prestigious title of being the “Redbud Capital of the World”, hosting the annual Honaker Redbud Festival each April. Honaker is currently undergoing downtown revitalization as part of the Main Street Program. There are camping and birding opportunities as well as being the Gateway to the Breaks (Interstate Park) and situated on the TransAmerica Bike Route. The Honaker Heritage Museum offers a wealth of information on the life and times of historical figures and happenings throughout the history of Russell County.

Laurel Bed Lake, located in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Area, sits atop the Clinch Mountain range with breathtaking views rivaling those of a Canadian mountain lake. On the drive to Laurel Bed Lake you will encounter magnificent waterfalls and mountain laurel on Big Tumbling Creek. For directions and regulations, please visit www.dgif.virginia.gov.

At the Washington and Russell County line you can venture on a hike to The Channels State Forest, which is an approximate 3.5 mile hike up to the Brumley Gap Fire Tower and The Channels. Along the way you will encounter scenic mountain laurel, rare plants and species and scenic vistas. Accommodations are also available at Raven’s Ridge Resort at the Trailhead. The Channels is an impressive formation of 400-million-year-old sandstone outcropping where water has eroded deep crevices or “channels” in between massive boulders. There are opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, biking, horseback riding, hunting and picnicking in the appropriately designated areas. Please visit www.dof.virginia.gov for regulations and permitting requirements.

The TransAmerica Bike Route – Bicentennial 76 was established for Adventure Cycling’s celebration of the U. S. Bicentennial in 1976, originally being called Bikecentennial which many old-timers still associate with the Trans-America Trail. It is still the greatest and most used route America, running from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. The Virginia portion of the trail has more total elevation gain than any other state with our very own “Big A Mountain” being popular both domestically and internationally for its challenges reaching to 3706 feet at its summit.
Lebanon, the County Seat, offers three community parks, a community pool, YMCA and three industrial parks, the courthouse and Governmental Center as well as the Russell County School Board, Social Services, Health Department and other vital agencies. The Russell County Veteran’s Memorial, commemorative of veterans who have ever served and has ties to Russell County, is located near the Russell County Governmental Center adjacent to the Lebanon Farmer’s Market. The Farmer’s Market is typically open throughout the season. It is an open air market open to vendors from the area to include fresh produce and locally produced wines and crafts. There is unique shopping and dining in addition to a Walmart Shopping Center. As you drive along Main Street you will also see the Memorial on Church Street as well as variety of historic homes and buildings. Located on the east end of town is Vincent’s Vineyard and Winery overlooking Big Cedar Creek, which is 9 miles long from Lebanon to the Clinch River. It has been rated as a class I-III section by American Whitewater. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bluegill in Big Cedar Creek.

St. Paul, located in both Russell and Wise Counties, is home to the Scenic Clinch River, Oxbow Lake, several hiking/biking trails and the county’s only Disc Golf Course. The town has become a model for small towns across the state for the Main Street Program, currently undergoing downtown revitalization. The town’s population was not large enough to qualify for the Main Street Program; however, the passion exhibited by the townspeople in other endeavors inspired the Department of Housing and Community Development to take a chance on this initiative.

As you can see, whatever your passions or interests are Russell County has a niche for you. For more information about Russell County, please contact the Russell County Chamber of Commerce at (276) 889-8041; www.russellcountyva.org; or email to linda@russellcountyva.org.